I’m John Troyer, Director of the Centre for Death and Society at Bath University, co-founder of the Death Reference Desk, which scours the web for All Things Death, and the author of a book that explores the relationship of the dead body with tech...
I’m John Troyer. I grew up in the American Funeral industry, and now direct a UK research center focused on the interdisciplinary study of death, dying and dead bodies. I also run the Death Reference Desk, where we scour the web and beyond for All Things Death: from interesting blogs and recommended books to commentary and analysis of death in the news. The coronavirus pandemic crisis has, tragically, forced many of us to think about and talk about death more than ever — and these discussions matter. As bodies continue to pile up in hospitals and in parks, it’s also highlighted just how unprepared we are to manage the logistics of death.
Last week, the MIT Press published my book, “Technologies of the Human Corpse,” which examines the relationship of the dead body with technology through history, from 19th-century embalming machines and photography, to the AIDS Epidemic of the 1980s and the death-prevention technologies of today.
I’m here from 12 – 2 pm EST to field any questions you may have about death — good death, bad death, sad or nuanced death, culturally- and politically-charged death. Want to learn more about the “Happy Death Movement” of the 1970s? The black market in human body parts? How dead bodies are managed during mass fatality events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic? Anything goes. Let’s talk death.
EDIT: I'm going to close the discussion now. Great questions! Thanks to everyone who participated. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @deathref and @futurecemetery as well as the Centre for Death and Society @cendeathsociety for regular updates on all things death, dying, and dead bodies. Death wins. Death always wins. Respect death.